Agnipath scheme 'Myths vs Facts': Centre releases fact sheet amid violent protests

Several aspirants for the armed forces are unhappy with the changes introduced under the new recruitment scheme for the Indian Army

ANIUpdated: Thursday, June 16, 2022, 05:38 PM IST
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(L-2R) Chief of Indian Army staff General Manoj Pande, Chief of Air staff, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar pose for pictures during a press conference in New Delhi on June 14, 2022, to announce the new Agnipath scheme under which soldiers across the three military services will be recruited and will be called Agniveers. |

As protests broke out against the newly launched Agnipath recruitment scheme, government officials on Thursday brought out a fact sheet to clarify myths being spread about the programme.

Government officials denied that opportunities for youth will decrease as a result of Agnipath. In fact, they said the opportunities for youth to serve in the armed forces will rather increase.

"In the coming years, recruitment of Agniveers will be around triple of the current recruitment in armed forces," the government officials said.

Another myth is that Agniveers will have an insecure future. Officials said those wishing to be entrepreneurs will get a financial package and bank loan scheme.

The other options that they can go for include further studies, for which, the government said the students will be given 12 class equivalent certificates and a bridging course for further studies.

"For those wishing to obtain jobs- they will be given priority in CAPFs and State Police. Several avenues are also being opened up for them in other sectors," said the government officials.

As far as the myth regarding the regimental bonding getting affected is concerned, the officials said that there is no change being done in the regimental system.

"In fact, it will be further accentuated because the best of Agniveers will be selected, further boosting cohesiveness of the unit," said the officials.

Refuting the claims of the scheme harming the effectiveness of the Armed Forces, governmnet officials said that the system is already been tested in most of the countries where such a "short term enlistment system exists", and hence it is "considered best practice for a youthful and agile army".

"The numbers of Agniveers to be recruited in the first year would only make up 3 per cent of the armed forces. Additionally, the performance of the Agniveers will be tested before re-induction in the army after four years. Hence Army will get tested and tried personnel for supervisory ranks," the officials said.

Showing faith in the youth of the country as against the myth that the "21-year-olds are immature and unreliable for the army", the officials stated that most armies across the world depend upon their youths, while also adding clarifying that "at no point of time will there be more youngsters than experienced people".

"The present scheme will only bring about a right mix of 50 per cent -50 per cent, slowly in a very long run, of youngsters and experienced supervisory ranks," the government officials stated.

They further rejected the possibility of the Agniveers proving to be a "danger to society and joining terrorist camps, and said that such a myth is an "insult to the ethos and values of the Indian armed forces" and the affirmed that the "youngsters who have worn the uniform for four years will remain committed to the country for rest of their lives".

"Even now thousands retire from armed forces retire with skills etc. but there have not been any instances of them joining anti-national forces," the officials clarified.

As far as the myth and allegation that former armed forces officials were not consulted while constituting the Agnipath scheme, government officials said that extensive consultations with serving armed forces officers for the last two years were made.

"The proposal has been framed by the Department of Military Officers staffed by Military officers. The department itself is a creation of this government. Many former officers have recognized the advantages of the scheme and welcomed it," the officials said.

Notably, several aspirants for the armed forces are unhappy with the changes introduced under the new recruitment scheme for the Indian Army, particularly the length of service, no pension provisions for those released early, and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that now makes many of them ineligible.

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Agnipath recruitment scheme which provides an opportunity for Indian youth to serve in the regular cadre of the Armed Forces for a period of four years.

Agnipath scheme aims to make the Army a future-ready fighting force capable of meeting multiple challenges across the full spectrum of conflict, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande said on Tuesday.

But some army aspirants are unhappy with the Ministry of Defence's new scheme for recruitment of youth into the armed forces.

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